By Jacco Gelderloos, CBC Compiler. 

As I prepare to write this year’s CBC announcement, I am struck by a feeling of déjà vu – a quick check of the 2016 article confirms it: that, too, was largely written on an unseasonably warm October day, with temperatures hovering near, or even hitting, the 80-degree mark! Bizarre stuff, but perhaps a sign of things to come? Or perhaps, a fluky Indian Summer weekend ahead of cooler, more normal fall weather (whatever that may mean these days)? We’ll see….

On Saturday, December 2, 2017, this annual trip is a favorite for hard-core WAS members. Because access to the landfill is restricted, we rent vans for the trip and have to limit the number of participants. First priority goes to Washtenaw Audubon members who have not recently been on this trip. Second priority will be given to Washtenaw Audubon members who have previously attended this trip. Third on the priority list are non-members, who may be placed on a wait list on a first come, first served basis and will be admitted three days before the trip to fill any remaining spots. There are 24 spots available.

The 2017 Washtenaw County May Count is finally a wrap! Our total of 171 bird species observed stands respectable among the totals of years past, with 132 expected species and 39 unusual species for the area. Last year we observed 176 species. This year we had dozens of volunteers fan out throughout the county, searching for birds, and recording everything in eBird, a citizen science project, though Cornell University. Now, instead of our results being buried in the obscure scientific journal, Michigan Birds and Natural History, to be published several years after the fact, scientists have access to our data in real time. Was it a light migration in mid-May for common Warbler species? Yes, it was, as we can see from our County Results. If I am a scientist studying trends from this year’s migration, I have the Washtenaw County data at my fingertips, right in eBird. For the complete count of species by Townships, click here.

During the potluck-tally gathering at the closing of this year’s Ann Arbor Christmas Bird Count, we discussed if the 2016 edition was the tenth anniversary of my role as count compiler. Neither the previous compiler, Nancy French, nor I was sure when the baton was passed from her to me, but after reviewing my CBC records, I found that 2007 was my inaugural year as compiler, which means that this year, 2016, was, indeed, my tenth year in charge of the Ann Arbor CBC—how time flies!

Come join in this friendly competition on Saturday, March 11, sponsored by Washtenaw Audubon!

Here are the rules and regulations. Email us if you have any questions

  • Form a team of at least three people and select a public road in Washtenaw County that is likely to yield a wide variety of species in early March. The following roads are not eligible for the competition: Huron River Drive, Michigan Avenue, North Territorial. All other roads are allowed, but please use good judgment in considering safety in addition to bird-related considerations.
  • More than one team is allowed to use a given road. You will not "own" your road.
  • Start searching your road as early as you like on the morning of the event (i.e., any time after midnight). Look and listen for as many bird species as possible, stopping not later than 11 AM. Only species observed from midnight to 11 AM will count.

This year we are trying something new: online registration for the Ann Arbor Christmas Bird Count. This is how we prefer that everyone register, as it will give us a complete (or mostly complete) database of participants and contact information. To register:


For more information, visit our Christmas Bird Count page

This upcoming June, WAS will be offering its 6th international field trip, this time to the bird-rich European country of Spain. We will spend 10 days (June 20-29, 2017) birding a variety of habitats in search of as many species we can, focusing on the birds unique to this part of the world. We start in the hilly grasslands of central Spain looking for birds such as Great Bustard, Little Bustard, Iberian Magpies, Hoopoes, European Bee-eaters and many others.

by CBC Compiler, Jacco Gelderloos

Online registration is new this year! CLICK HERE!

As I sit here behind my computer, I cannot help but chuckle at the somewhat surreal circumstance of writing this year’s CBC article after an (almost) 80-degree day! Then again, temperatures are forecast to drop this weekend, and the first of the season’s Dark-eyed Juncos have been reported. In short, winter is irrevocably on its way!

Led by Don Chalfant, this is a low-key international competition that Don has participated in for the past 14 years. The task is to try to identify by sight or sound as many bird species as possible while remaining in a circle of 17 feet in diameter. For participants other than Don, the timing can be completely flexible. You can arrive before dawn to join in the owling or you can come after breakfast, in the afternoon--whatever works for you. It is also a great outing for those with restricted mobility since everything takes place in a fixed spot. For those staying for any significant amount of time, we recommend bringing food and a chair, in addition to your binoculars. On October 8, with a rain date of October 9th. If bad weather is projected, be sure to check the birders listserve (to subscribe to the Birders mailing list, visit This decision will be made by 4AM.

Saturday, May 14, the second Saturday of the month, dawned cold and wet. There were freezing conditions forecast, with gale force winds, and it was nearly so at 5 a.m. when my husband, Scott, and I set out from home to begin our Spring Migration count in Lodi Township. All over the county, birders were up early - obscenely early - to count birds. 91 birders, to be exact, 20 more than last year. All pitched in for a massive volunteer effort to count all the birds, all the species in our county.